Thursday, March 3, 2011

CKR: February 2008

(continued from January 2008...)


Where the F**k is Dawn?!
Monday, February 11, 2008
The original title of this post was, "Hi, my name is Dawn, and I'm an addict." I thought it was clever and eye-catching. But it betrayed the point I was hoping to make, which is that I'm going under for a while. Maybe a long while. And I'm not coming back 'til I have a book.

"But, Dawn, you already HAVE a book," you might say. And you'd be right. The thing is, I should have had another book about a year ago, but life kept getting in the way. I won't go into the litany of interruptions (read "excuses"), which range from "I was out of town" to "my mother died," because I've done that half a dozen times here, and y'all are likely sick of hearing about them. The end of CKR is so close right now, though, I can see it (smell it, touch it, taste it), and I need to finish it. If not for my restless agent and all the people who've been waiting on pins and needles to get their hands on it, then for my career as a writer, as well as for my sanity. Which brings me to my addiction, or rather, addictions, because there isn't just one…

The first step in any recovery program is admitting you have a problem. And I do. Probably several. And none are easy to admit—not to you, not to my husband, or even to myself. Because it's hard to accept when you're wrong, especially when you're so damned accustomed to being right. But the time has come to fess up, take ownership and responsibility, and get on with the business of being a writer, mom, and wife. I've neglected all three for too long, choosing, instead, to indulge my addictions.

And one of them is you.

Nearly everyone on MySpace has, at one time or another, confessed to spending too much time here. 'Til now, I've rationalized my participation by claiming it furthered my career as a writer. And, don't get me wrong, it has, and it does. Quite well, in fact. But lately, combined with all the other distractions and addictions that have contributed to the physical and emotional mess that is me right now, MySpace has been a convenient form of escape, one I've found myself addicted to.

So, I'm outta here. But not permanently. Just long enough to finish CKR and put myself right. It could take a couple of weeks. It could take longer. As difficult as it will be, I have to do it, because I'm expecting a lot of myself this year, and I have NO INTENTIONS of letting anyone down—including me. Those of you who've been reading for a while know this hiatus isn't the first one I've taken, so you should feel confident I'll be back. And better. And ready to take this ride to the next level.

Until then, be well, know I love and miss you…and cross your fingers for me.

CKR Diary Post No. 29
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I'm not really back yet, so I won't be responding to comments (sorry). But don't let that stop you--I WILL be reading them. I just wanted to post a Diary entry before I'm too far behind. This particular installment was written on Monday, February 18. I'm a little further along now, but I'll post more over the next couple of days. :)
"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." – Mark Twain

With only three chapters remaining in the re-write, I'm becoming more focused on the big picture of this novel. In particular, the subplot that ties all the pieces together. I won't give anything away, so I'll limit my disclosure to saying the big picture is unconventional. That means every other part of this book (structure, pacing, backstory, settings, descriptions, dialogue, etc.) has to support the unconventional while making the story, itself, believable.

Once I'm finished with the last chapter, I'll be making one final pass over the manuscript, from start to finish. That'll be my last chance to smooth out the rough spots and ensure everything flows correctly. I'll also have to address the question, "Does this make sense?" Regardless of how much I believe in what I've written, if the answer to that question is no, I have a serious problem.

Concerned I might be limiting my audience—or worse, creating characters that readers won't relate to—my writers' group has argued that "normal people" don't think and act like my characters do. I, in turn, defend my claim that more people think and act like that than they'll openly admit by citing examples of my own, first-hand observations of my husband and our friends and acquaintances. I remind them, too, that the main part of the story takes place over only a few days, and those particular days are exceptional and not the rule.

It's typically while I'm in the middle of one of these conversations with my writers' group that it occurs to me they might be right. In fact, they're probably right. Most likely right. That's when I shut down and let my brain juggle the possibilities for a while. With regard to the subplot in question, the juggling has been going on for several months.

Making the unconventional make sense is the challenge I face in the coming weeks. It seems like a lot to expect from my second novel. But this self-imposed "break" from MySpace is helping me focus. A few more productive days like this one, and I'll be back at the keyboard, blogging, messaging, and commenting, as if I'd never left.  :)

"CKR" Diary Post No. 30
Monday, February 25, 2008
The plan was to post the following two Diary entries on Friday, but time got away from me after Scott called to say his flight to Palm Beach International (about 8 minutes from home) was messed up, so he was flying into Fort Lauderdale instead. He offered to take a cab. I insisted I pick him up. Aside from a trip to Costco, the three-hour, round-trip drive to Fort Lauderdale was about all I accomplished.

But the weekend was fantastic! Many thanks to Maggie and Dave for spending it with us, and to Amy, Josh, and the Pens for joining us Saturday night. We don't do things like that nearly enough. Maybe it won't take me so long next time to host a next time.

Then again, chatting about my weekend isn't why I'm here. So, I'll get on with it… 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Forgot to ask you earlier: Did you happen to catch the 50th running of the Daytona 500 last Sunday? I thought I should watch it, since the book will likely be set in this year vs. 2006 or 2007. Last year's finish—when the Jack Daniel's car crossed the finish line upside down and on fire—would have fit the storyline better, but the longer I take to write this thing, the more I find myself re-working and adapting to bring it up to present day. (It's one of the pitfalls of taking so damn long.)

By the way, who the hell is Ryan Newman?!

Only one chapter remains in the rewrite, and I finally feel I might actually finish this damn book.

I'm not ready to type "The End" at the end yet, though. That won't happen until I compile all the changes, including suggested ones from the Pens, and address every note every person's scribbled in the margins. If I guessed at how long that would take me, I'd say a week. But I've been way off on my time frames ever since I got the idea for this novel, so my estimate isn't really worth dick.

And I want to let it "stew" or "age" or "reduce down to a nice, thick roux" before I tackle the front to back polish. I'm shooting for three weeks. No longer than a month. Then I'll pick it up, start at page one, and commence 'til I get to the end. That's when I'll type "The End."

Tomorrow, I'll be converting the book's final chapter from third-person to first-person, tying up all the loose ends, filling in any gaps in the storyline, dotting all the i's, and crossing all the t's. After that, I'll gather all the edited copies, emailed suggestions, and scraps of paper I've jotted notes and changes on and whittle the manuscript down to only one remaining hard copy of every chapter—with all pertinent info written in the margins. It'll be something around 350 pages, or 80-90,000 words (I haven't calculated that yet.) Then I'll stick it on a shelf, jump on MySpace again, and start researching film treatments, along with what's required to get one read and sold.

I'm excited already.

Oh, and, for shits and giggles, I Googled myself again. You might remember that first time (way back), when I put my name in quotes, I got only 7 results. This time I got 572. Without quotes, Google churns out 11,900 links. I seem to be fucking everywhere! :)

Be back soon… 

Friday, February 22, 2008
The Pens meeting last night wasn't terribly productive—because no one brought material to read—but it's still a nice night out with good friends. Casey came along, too, since Scott's in North Dakota and I didn't want to leave her home by herself (last time I did that, the police called to say that she and a friend had taken Scott's truck for a ride—I wasn't eager to find out what else she has up her sleeve).

Even though I didn't bring a chapter to dissect last night, I did have something to celebrate—the re-write is DONE! I finished it yesterday at about 5:00. I've been saying for months that all I needed to wrap this up was a couple of weeks of solid, uninterrupted writing time, which is pretty much what I had the last couple of weeks. I've really missed you guys, but Tough Love doesn't include the word "tough" just for effect. And sometimes you have to apply it to yourself. Of course, I fudged a little. But what good are rules if you can't break them. :)

So, I'm back on MySpace, though I'm also gearing up for a busy weekend. My writer buddy, Maggie West, and her soon-to-be-hubby (who's also a writer) are coming to visit. We've got some work to discuss, specifically the "Bad Boys" short story compilation we're hoping to publish, but, since we've never met face-to-face before, we're also looking forward to consuming a few refreshing beverages and getting to know one another better.

Whenever I get a free minute, I'll pop in here and say "Hi." It feels great to be back! :) 

* * *

(Monday, February 25, 2008) For the record, we consumed more than "a few" refreshing beverages this weekend.  ;)

(to be continued...)

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